A Song for Summer

A Song for Summer

by Eva Ibbotson

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Overview

Set against the backdrop of gathering war, A Song for Summer is an unforgettable love story from master storyteller Eva Ibbotson.

When Ellen Carr abandons grey, dreary London to become housekeeper at an experimental school in Austria, she soon knows she's found her calling.

Swept into an idyllic world of mountains, music, eccentric teachers and wayward children, Ellen brings order and joy to all around her. But it's the handsome, mysterious gardener, Marek, who intrigues her – Marek, who has a dangerous secret. As Hitler's troops march across Europe, Ellen finds she has promises to keep, even if it means sacrificing her future happiness . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780330477345
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 09/04/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 496,555
File size: 923 KB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came to power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on 20 October 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011.
Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came into power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on October 20th 2010. Her final book, One Dog and His Boy, was published in May 2011.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A lively read. (Library Journal)

EBOOK COMMENTARY

A lively read. (Library Journal)

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Song for Summer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
j_austens_child More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader, I look at finding a good book as a challenge. When I'm not playing it safe and reading books by my favorite authors, I'm scoping out Barnes & Noble for something that will be able to keep my attention and challenge my mind. I was very pleased with the eloquent writing style in A Song For Summer. The book follows a beautiful love story that takes place during World War II. It is a story of both trying to be oneself amongst the expectations of others and listening to what you believe to be true and sticking with your gut even in times of a struggle. I don't mean to be cyptic in my review, I just have a strong belief in not giving away details of a good book. So if you want a sweet romance read, then pick this book up. You won't be displeased.
Rubbah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book, It is about Ellen who becomes a teacher at an 'alternative' school where all the teachers are strange and the pupils come from every background possible. ellen sets about improving everything and solving everyones problems, but then Hitler invades Austria and everything changes. It's not as good as other Eva Ibbotson's books like Journey to the riversea but it is still very enjoyable.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you have read any of my previous reviews of books by Eva Ibbotson, you already more or less know the plot: The protagonist is a young, beautiful girl who is well-born but eschews her status as part of her love and appreciation for the little joys in life, including domesticity, nature, and rewards reaped from kindness. She is loved by all, including the surly, the old, the young, the birds and the bees. Along comes a princely type who falls for her goodness and simplicity as well as her beauty. Alas, he believes he belongs to another, and she believes he belongs to another, and they go their separate ways. But they never forget each other, and in the end, their love triumphs.Ibbotson¿s books are very, very similar. And yet, there are enough differences in each to make the predictability seem familiar and endearing rather than annoying. It¿s amazing to me that this is the case, and yet, other Ibbotson fans concur: we love Eva Ibbotson in spite of the fact that we can safely and reliably predict the arc of every single story.In A Song For Summer, Ellen Carr, in her early twenties, fits the usual Ibbotson profile of small, thin, blonde, and beautiful. Additionally, she has big brown eyes, and is known for being both clever and kind. (In a departure from other Ibbotson heroines, Ellen is not ditsy.) Ellen answers an ad to take a domestic post in Corinthia in the southern end of Austria, in a school at Schloss Hallendorf specializing in music, dama, and dance. (Ibbotson¿s books tend to be set in castles, and always involve music, opera, and ballet.) There are flowers everywhere, tended by the mysterious, kind, resourceful and handsome Marek Tarnowsky, age 29, who looks like every other Ibbotson hero: broad-shouldered, with blunt, irregular features, and penetrating eyes. Marek turns out to be leading a secret life ¿ one both exceptional and noble: he is helping stranded European Jews escape from the Nazis. Moreover, he is a music prodigy. And yet, here he is doing landscaping at the castle. Ellen suspects there is more to Marek than meets the eye, and doesn¿t shirk from danger when she too has an opportunity to help save Jews. There are some notable moments in this book when both Marek and Ellen work to rescue the talented violinist Isaac Meierwitz. Marek claims that Isaac is his friend and he ¿can¿t allow¿ Ellen to take this risk:"¿Don¿t!¿ She turned on him furiously. `Just don¿t dare to say this is no job for a woman. My mother and my aunts didn¿t get kicked by police horses and thrown to the ground [in the struggle for women¿s rights] for you to go around treating me as an imbecile. Furthermore, if war comes no one will bother to distinguish between men and women. Ask the women of Guernica whether anyone cared what sex they were when they bombed the marketplace. Getting Isaac out is part of fighting Hitler and I won¿t be left out of it.¿¿I liked the fact that Ibbotson balanced Ellen¿s love of cooking and cleaning and sewing with a firm commitment to rights for women.At one point, Isaac wonders why their contacts ¿ religious Jews ¿ would take risks on Isaac who was practically an atheist: "But he knew. He himself had scarcely set foot in a synagogue; his mother had been baptized, but Hitler had created a new kind of Jew ¿ someone who existed to be hunted and killed ¿ and [therefore] these unknown men had accepted him as a brother.¿I thought that was an exceptionally perceptive observation.Isaac, like everyone else, falls in love with Ellen, with ¿her strange mixture of softness and steel.¿ But it is only Marek that she wants.... Evaluation: This book has all the usual Eva Ibbotson bare bones, fleshed out by a story of courage and enduring love. I adore all of her books. In spite of their sameness, each one has a bit of something new, and both parts are equally appealing.
RivkaBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'll be honest, I fell in love with the cover of this book (as well as several of Ibbotson's other novels) and the title. I drooled over it for a months online, hoping the library would pick it up. When nobody ever did, I bought it myself, to see if it's as good as it looks and to get a feel for Ibbotson's style. Oh man. I am hooked.The premise of the story is interesting in and of itself - pre-WWII Europe, a handsome man with a secret, a beautiful girl with a heart of gold. I love WWI and WWII stories, so I was already interested. Even knowing it involved WWII ideas, which frequently become quite heart-gripping, I never expected to become so emotionally attached to this novel and/or its characters. In Ellen, I recognized some of myself - a desire to see and not become blinded by any one thing/love/person. In Marek -- well, quite simply, in Marek is frank examination of our very humanity. But not in a daunting way. Nothing about this tale is daunting. It feels real. I lived the story. I was caught unawares by the shifts and changes, I got to know the characters as they got to know each other and themselves. I thought about things while reading, and after. And I have made the decision to read more of Ibbotson's novels, because if they are all this good, it's worth tracking them down.
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*Sigh* I loved this book. The writing, the characters, the setting, the plot.. all amazing. I loved how it began with Ellen, her background and her upbringing, and how that lead her to the school (and Marek). And I loved the children! And Austria! It all just makes me want to bake a pie or mop a floor or in general just be Ellen.Ibbotson uses a great technique of presenting a pivotal scene from a minor characters viewpoint - something he is only observing and usually not understanding. It never failed to make me keep reading so I would find out what really happened and why. My only struggle with this book was with Marek. Sometimes I just wanted to knock him upside the head for the things he did/didn't do to Ellen! All in all, I loved it and want to read it again to simply absorb all the details I missed the first go round just trying to find out what would happen.
Cassiphone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Song for Summer, Ibbotson's latest novel, has traces of all her previous, excellent work, but is something else again. It is billed as a YA, and unselfconsciously hurls adult references and humour in with a classic YA/fairy tale set up (we see our heroine through her whole childhood in the first few pages, to better understand her as an adult. Nevertheless, it also has that charm of a child's story.In a nutshell, Ellen is a daughter of intellectual women, and grows up in the 1920's and 30's in a houseful of suffragettes and bluestockings. She devastates her fiesty family when she turns out to have a talent for... housework. Her greatest influence is her grandfather's Austrian housekeeper/mistress, and she inevitably turns towards that country for her future. On the eve of war in Europe, as the Nazis begin to exercise their dreadful power, Ellen becomes the housekeeper of a strange, alternative school in Austria, where rich people send their problem children to learn Arts and Drama.The school is populated with an anarchic bunch of students and staff who could give the St Trinians girls a run for their money, but Ellen soon whips them into shape. Occasionally, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in the Sound of Music, but this is a far more interesting story. A Song for Summer is a romance (in the true adventurous use of the term as well as a love story) about patisseries and opera. The novel is peopled with wacky, sweet and strange characters, including some truly appalling women. It's about sex and love and the intellect, and music, and domesticity. And, of course, it's about war and what it does to everyday, ordinary people, and how it can even spoil a perfect love story, and corrupt a hero.But it's also a romance that plays with the conventions of romance, expertly pulling the rug out from under the reader while appearing to be all simple and rustic. It contains some of the most impressively effortless use of the omniscient third person POV used in a post-19th century novel. It's tragic and funny and strange.It's a page turner. And it has marzipan animals in it.
Mcfan97 More than 1 year ago
Sweet, easy read.
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PortugiPrisca More than 1 year ago
This is the third book I've read by this author and I think it has to be my favorite. The characters and the setting were so memorable and I found myself heartbroken along with them, and overjoyed with them. History, romance & twists and turns at every corner. Just when you think you have it figured out, it'll change. Once again, great book!
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For me this book was a little bit hard to understand.As a high school student I look for an easy read ecspecially in the summer. The characters were alright, but nothing very exciting happened in the book. I wasn't very motivated to read more.
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